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Iraqi President Calls for Strategic Partnership with Gulf

Iraqi President Calls for Strategic Partnership with Gulf

Thursday, 25 April, 2019 - 06:15
Iraqi PM Adel Abdul Mahdi receives the GCC secretary general in Baghdad. (SPA)
Baghdad – Hamza Mustafa
Iraqi President Barham Salih called on Wednesday for establishing strategic partnership between Baghdad and the Arab Gulf.

“Iraq is looking forward to more cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council because of its importance in the Arab, regional and Islamic world,” he said while receiving in Baghdad GCC Secretary General Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani.

He also urged the GCC members to prioritize “dialogue and understanding to bolster peace in the Gulf and steer it clear of conflicts and wars.”

“The security, political and economic circumstances the region is going through demand of us all to coordinate efforts, bolster cooperation and bridge divides in order to achieve stability and prosperity for the people,” he continued.

Moreover, Salih called for overcoming the Iraq-Gulf disputes of the past that were caused by “reckless policies adopted by the former regime.”

Zayani had also met during his Iraq visit with Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi and Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim.

GCC and Iraqi officials signed at the Foreign Ministry a memorandum of understanding on political consultations that would pave the way for regular dialogue on issues of common interest.

Zayani said talks with Hakim focused on ways to bolster cooperation between the GCC and Iraq. He added that the Council is looking forward to seeing an “effective and constructive” Iraqi role in the region that “reflects its rich history, political weight and impact on the region’s security, stability and prosperity.”

For his part, Hakim underlined the depth of ties between Baghdad and the GCC states.

Visits by Gulf officials help strengthen these bonds and achieve joint cooperation between regional countries, he added.

MP Dhafer al-Aaani told Asharq Al-Awsat that ties between Iraq and the GCC were witnessing “unprecedented” development on all levels. He cited the increase in diplomatic representation and frequent visits by Gulf officials to Iraq.

Head of the “Iraqi Center for Political Thought”, Dr. Ihssan Shmary remarked that ties between Baghdad and Iraq were witnessing a marked improvement after they were severed and strained for three decades prior to 2003.

“The situation has changed and we are now witnessing a historic shift in the nature of these ties… that is being driven by a mutual desire to put the past behind and work together for the region’s stability,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

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